Vw working on the XR1: an ultralight, mid-engined sports car using a Golf GTI engine

Article by Christian A., on July 9, 2013

As you may know already, back in February Volkswagen introduced the XL1, known as the most fuel-efficient production car in the world. For those who don’t know, the XL1 uses a 0.8-liter two-cylinder TDI engine with 48 PS and an E-motor with 27 PS, enough to use only 0.9 liters of fuel for 100 km. Well, now the German manufacturer wants to take things even further and will create the XR1, or a sporty version of the XL1.

According to Car magazine, the Volkswagen XR1 will be a high-tech sports car and could use the 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine found on the Golf GTI. Still, engineers are mulling over a turbo and supercharged triple or a hybrid. Sources suggest that Volkswagen could use the Golf GTI engine mid-mounted across the body.

Performances will be impressive: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 911 Carrera PDK’s 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 305 km/h or 190 mph. Volkswagen will create a new car and will not just add a new engine on the XL1.

Car magazine says that the engineers will have to widen and lengthen the XL1 chassis in order to accommodate the engine, the new twin-clutch gearbox and two seats. The car will be 100 kg lighter than the XL1 as it will not feature the XL1’s batteries and motor. Moreover, Volkswagen will keep the gullwing doors and will add magnesium wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes and polycarbonate sideglass.

Consuming just 0.9 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, the new Volkswagen XL1 is indeed the most fuel-efficient production car in the world – something that was made possible by its plug-in hybrid system. Moreover, the new Volkswagen XL1 could travel up to 50 km in pure electric mode.

As intended by VW, the new XL1 strongly adheres to pure sports car design principles. For instance, it isn’t just lightweight at 795 kg, it also has a very desirable coefficient of drag at 0.189 Cd. In addition, the new XL1 has a low center of gravity at 1,153 mm. With these attributes, the new VW XL1 could cruise at 100 km/h employing a power output of just 8.4 PS (6.2 kW). When driven in pure electric mode, the new VW XL1 needs less than 0.1 kWh just to be able to travel over a kilometer.

The car’s lightweight design and perfect aerodynamics are complemented by its plug-in hybrid system that includes a two-cylinder TDI engine that could deliver 48 PS (35 kW), an E-motor that could generate 27 PS (20 kW), a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) and lithium-ion battery. This plug-in hybrid system allows the new XL1 to emit just 21 grams of carbon dioxide per km. Interestingly, the new VW XL1 could sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 12.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 160 km/h. Of course, no production car could match the XL1’s 0.9 l/100 km fuel consumption record.

For the carmaker, the new XL1 comes as a third evolutionary phase of its 1-liter car strategy. It is part of the answer to the visionary goal as impressed by Ferdinand Piëch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG. This goal sees the introduction of a production car that is both practical for daily use and efficient enough to consume only one liter of fuel per 100 km.

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